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Subsidiarity: Mechanisms for monitoring compliance

12-07-2018

The principle of subsidiarity requires decisions to be taken at the lowest practical level of government without, however, jeopardising mutually beneficial cooperation at the supranational level. Recent decades have seen efforts to strengthen the subsidiarity principle in EU law, including the introduction of the well-known early warning mechanism (EWM) for national parliaments. At the same time, the principle of subsidiarity remains a contested notion. This has important implications for the regulatory ...

The principle of subsidiarity requires decisions to be taken at the lowest practical level of government without, however, jeopardising mutually beneficial cooperation at the supranational level. Recent decades have seen efforts to strengthen the subsidiarity principle in EU law, including the introduction of the well-known early warning mechanism (EWM) for national parliaments. At the same time, the principle of subsidiarity remains a contested notion. This has important implications for the regulatory, political and judicial bodies monitoring compliance with the principle. In this context, commentators have called for a better (and shared) understanding of the principle and have formulated a number of suggestions as to how to monitor compliance with the principle more effectively.

Revision of the 'Eurovignette' directive

26-09-2017

The IA contains a wealth of information, data and research, both internal and external, but some parts of the complex analysis lack clarity and coherence. The extensive quantitative estimations are not always comparable in structure and thus difficult to relate to each other. The potential contribution of the options to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the REFIT exercise remains vague, as well as their impact on SMEs. The IA concludes that higher revenues, better road quality and considerable ...

The IA contains a wealth of information, data and research, both internal and external, but some parts of the complex analysis lack clarity and coherence. The extensive quantitative estimations are not always comparable in structure and thus difficult to relate to each other. The potential contribution of the options to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the REFIT exercise remains vague, as well as their impact on SMEs. The IA concludes that higher revenues, better road quality and considerable environmental and social benefits would compensate for the regulatory and compliance costs of the initiatives. At the same time, it acknowledges that under all options the impacts of the proposals are uncertain because the introduction of tolls remains voluntary and subject to national policy orientations.

The European services e-card

05-05-2017

The overall impression is that the IA provides a thorough analysis of the current problems encountered. The IA indicates the likely costs and benefits of the proposed options, which are grouped into four packages. The Commission makes clear that, where possible, quantitative estimations were provided of the impacts of reducing administrative burden and/or regulatory obstacles, but underscores that there are nevertheless many other factors which influence the levels of cross-border trade and investment ...

The overall impression is that the IA provides a thorough analysis of the current problems encountered. The IA indicates the likely costs and benefits of the proposed options, which are grouped into four packages. The Commission makes clear that, where possible, quantitative estimations were provided of the impacts of reducing administrative burden and/or regulatory obstacles, but underscores that there are nevertheless many other factors which influence the levels of cross-border trade and investment in services. While stakeholder consultation was broad, stakeholder support for most options is not readily apparent from the IA.

Subsidiarity as a Means to Enhance Cooperation between EU Institutions and National Parliaments

08-03-2017

The Treaty of Lisbon has entrusted national parliaments with the responsibility to monitor the respect of the principle of subsidiarity in new EU legislative proposals adopted in areas of non-exclusive EU competence (so-called Early Warning System). The Commission has been the primary interlocutor of parliaments in this framework, although Parliament also receives and follows-up on national parliaments’ reasoned opinions. Despite positive developments visible both at EU and national level, important ...

The Treaty of Lisbon has entrusted national parliaments with the responsibility to monitor the respect of the principle of subsidiarity in new EU legislative proposals adopted in areas of non-exclusive EU competence (so-called Early Warning System). The Commission has been the primary interlocutor of parliaments in this framework, although Parliament also receives and follows-up on national parliaments’ reasoned opinions. Despite positive developments visible both at EU and national level, important challenges remain, in particular in relation to the limited scope offered by the Early Warning System for more political engagement.

Publishing corporate tax information Country-by-country reporting for multinational enterprise groups

16-08-2016

The Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines recall that an impact assessment 'should be comprehensive, proportionate, evidence-based, open to stakeholder's view, unbiased, prepared collectively with relevant Commission services, embedded in the policy cycle, transparent and of a high quality' (Guidelines, p. 20). After an initial appraisal, it can be concluded that this IA seems to fit to a large extent this description and could be considered in many respects as an example of good practice, compared ...

The Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines recall that an impact assessment 'should be comprehensive, proportionate, evidence-based, open to stakeholder's view, unbiased, prepared collectively with relevant Commission services, embedded in the policy cycle, transparent and of a high quality' (Guidelines, p. 20). After an initial appraisal, it can be concluded that this IA seems to fit to a large extent this description and could be considered in many respects as an example of good practice, compared to other Commission IAs in the financial field. The Better Regulation Guidelines have been to a large extent respected. The IA seems to have considered the recommendations made in relevant Parliament resolutions, such as the one of 16 December 2015 on 'bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union', although, in some cases, the Commission has drawn different conclusions. One of the weaknesses is that the IA does not appear to present the likely impacts of some changes introduced in the proposal and acknowledged in the Explanatory Memorandum, such as the EU list of tax havens. Overall, this IA appears to contribute effectively to informing the decision-making process.

Euro Area Fiscal Stance: Definition, Implementation and Democratic Legitimacy

11-07-2016

Despite large automatic stabilizers, the performance of the Euro area as a whole in terms of fiscal stabilization is relatively poor. This report argues that a meaningful fiscal stance for the Euro area should rely on the current account as a complement to the output gap, and be coordinated only in “exceptional” times, the usual bottom-up approach of fiscal policy remaining appropriate for “normal” times. In such setting, the European Fiscal Board would play a key role in advising the Commission ...

Despite large automatic stabilizers, the performance of the Euro area as a whole in terms of fiscal stabilization is relatively poor. This report argues that a meaningful fiscal stance for the Euro area should rely on the current account as a complement to the output gap, and be coordinated only in “exceptional” times, the usual bottom-up approach of fiscal policy remaining appropriate for “normal” times. In such setting, the European Fiscal Board would play a key role in advising the Commission on the existence of “exceptional” circumstances, on the adequate aggregate fiscal stance and on its desirable distribution across member states.

Autor externo

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré

Euro Area Fiscal Stance: Definition, Implementation and Democratic Legitimacy

11-07-2016

In its current approach to achieve an appropriate euro area fiscal stance, the EU Commission asks countries with fiscal space to provide extra stimulus in order to compensate for countries that are constrained by debt sustainability considerations. However, the aggregate fiscal stance is not a particularly useful concept since it abstracts from too much relevant information at the country level. In particular, excessive stimulus in one country is likely to generate welfare losses there, since this ...

In its current approach to achieve an appropriate euro area fiscal stance, the EU Commission asks countries with fiscal space to provide extra stimulus in order to compensate for countries that are constrained by debt sustainability considerations. However, the aggregate fiscal stance is not a particularly useful concept since it abstracts from too much relevant information at the country level. In particular, excessive stimulus in one country is likely to generate welfare losses there, since this may compromise fiscal sustainability and/or cause its economy to overheat. Additional spending in one country can help other countries only if (1) there are significant trade spillovers and (2) monetary policy does not respond to the increase in economic activity. Even then, the composition of national fiscal policies may be inappropriate, since additional spending may be called for in countries where it is not needed. To overcome these problems would entail moving towards a fiscal union (e.g. by implementing a cyclical risk-sharing mechanism), which can potentially loosen fiscal restrictions, but introduces risks of moral hazard and persistent one-sided transfers.

Autor externo

Esther Ademmer, Claire Boeing-Reicher, Jens Boysen-Hogrefe, Klaus-Jürgen Gern and Ulrich Stolzenburg

Renegotiation by the United Kingdom of its Constitutional Relationship with the European Union: Issues Related to Sovereignty

15-04-2016

A key point of the United Kingdom’s renegotiation agreement with the European Union is sovereignty. Historically, the British have been particularly sensitive about this issue. Following the demands of Prime Minister Cameron, five different issues have been tackled: “ever closer union”, subsidiarity, the role of the national parliaments, the British opt-out on matters relating to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the issue of national security. They all have different scope and consequences ...

A key point of the United Kingdom’s renegotiation agreement with the European Union is sovereignty. Historically, the British have been particularly sensitive about this issue. Following the demands of Prime Minister Cameron, five different issues have been tackled: “ever closer union”, subsidiarity, the role of the national parliaments, the British opt-out on matters relating to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the issue of national security. They all have different scope and consequences that are analysed in detail.

Autor externo

Francisco ALDECOA LUZÁRRAGA and Mercedes GUINEA LLORENTE (FUNDACIÓN ALTERNATIVAS)

Regional participation in EU decision-making: Role in the legislature and subsidiarity monitoring

14-04-2016

The role of sub-national bodies in EU decision-making has grown. In this regard, significant changes were introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which inserted an explicit reference to the sub-national dimension of the subsidiarity principle, and granted the Committee of the Regions the right to bring an action for annulment. While the 'Early Warning Mechanism' for subsidiarity monitoring is primarily concerned with national parliaments, regional parliaments with legislative powers form a separate category ...

The role of sub-national bodies in EU decision-making has grown. In this regard, significant changes were introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which inserted an explicit reference to the sub-national dimension of the subsidiarity principle, and granted the Committee of the Regions the right to bring an action for annulment. While the 'Early Warning Mechanism' for subsidiarity monitoring is primarily concerned with national parliaments, regional parliaments with legislative powers form a separate category of bodies caught by the protocol and may play an advisory role. Existing research, however, points to problems and challenges which regional parliaments face in engaging in genuine subsidiarity monitoring. Ex-ante subsidiarity monitoring is complemented by the possibility of ex post judicial review. Generally, challenges to Union acts on subsidiarity grounds are infrequent. At the same time, it is agreed that the very possibility of judicial review forces greater weight to be given to subsidiarity concerns during the preparation of Union law and encourages EU institutions to consider carefully whether an issue is best addressed at the European, national, regional or local level.

European Platform for tackling undeclared work

23-03-2016

Undeclared work affects both the individual and society. It deprives workers of their necessary social and health protection and imposes precarious working conditions on them. At the same time, it creates unfair competition for companies, and damages public finances and social security systems. For these reasons, the European Commission proposed on 9 April 2014 the creation of a European Platform against undeclared work to support and coordinate the Member States' efforts in preventing, deterring ...

Undeclared work affects both the individual and society. It deprives workers of their necessary social and health protection and imposes precarious working conditions on them. At the same time, it creates unfair competition for companies, and damages public finances and social security systems. For these reasons, the European Commission proposed on 9 April 2014 the creation of a European Platform against undeclared work to support and coordinate the Member States' efforts in preventing, deterring and fighting undeclared work. Following a round of trilogue meetings at which the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council debated whether or not membership of the Platform should be mandatory for Member States, the extent of its competences and who its members should be, an agreement was forged which was subsequently adopted by Parliament in February 2016. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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